Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:
God, you who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again. - Psalm 71:20
Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." - John 14:1
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 55:1-8; Job 31; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
The phrase and image that stand out for me today is "Poured Out." I'm especially struck by Job's crying out to God, complaining bitterly about his unjust treatment. Job has made multiple speeches, and in this one, he has gone on for six chapters, making a grand finale by proclaiming his innocence in all kinds of ways. Then the narrator says: "The words of Job are ended."
The book of Job goes on with six chapters of a rant from Elihu, then four chapters of God speaking to Job, before a resolution is found.
But for now, at the end of Job 31, the words of Job are ended. Job is poured out, having said as much as he can say about his situation. It reminds me of times in my life, times like I think we all have, when I've given it my all, and in a good or a bad way ended the day feeling completely poured out.
Combined with the Psalm 71 and John 14 verses for today, and Paul's careful instructions about sexual and relational discipleship in 1 Corinthians 7, the perspective is that these poured-out moments are real, and powerful - but they're not the whole story.
It is true that walking with God means obedience to power and vision far greater than our own. We are called to true surrender, walking in God's way, not ours. We can think of being poured out, being emptied, as another way of describing repentance. Or of giving life with God everything we've got. Or of "coming to the end of our rope," going as far as we can on our own, and discovering that there's a long way left to go.
In this moment, God can refill us, refresh and revive us, with the best that God has to offer. As Luther said, "God made man out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us." When we're poured out, we make a new beginning with the life and grace of God.
Every day is a new chance to reconnect with God, to drink from God's grace, to tap into God's strength and community and purpose and joy.
God is with us, and comes to help us, when we are poured out.